Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams are locked in a lawsuit, not against each other, but against the heirs of one of their music idols, Marvin Gaye.
The Soul singer’s kids claim that Thick and Williams stole their hit single “Blurred Lines” from their dad’s own hit song “Got to Give It Up.” Both deny it, but the whole mess is headed to court anyway. Apparently, when money is involved, no one likes to take your word for it that you didn’t steal their stuff.
The pair tried to get the suit dismissed, with their attorneys saying, “There are no similarities between plaintiffs’ composition and those the claimants allege they own, other than commonplace musical elements. Plaintiffs created a hit and did it without copying anyone else's composition.”
So far, Judge John Kronstadt is not inclined to agree. He ruled that the Gaye’s heirs “have made a sufficient showing that elements of ‘Blurred Lines’ may be substantially similar to protected, original elements of ‘Got to Give It Up.'"
That doesn’t mean this is over. It just means that the lawsuit will not be tossed out as easily as Thicke and Pharrell had hoped.
The judge also pointed out that he was not inclined to dismiss the suit so easily due to similarities in hooks in both songs, bass lines, keyboard parts, vocal lines and elements of both songs’ melodic and harmonic composition.
A trial is now set to begin on February 10.
The pair are in good company, though. Led Zeppelin also faces a lawsuit, this time over a song that is much older. A judge in Pennsylvania will hear the case against their ownership of “Stairway to Heaven.” The very kinds of elements that Judge Kronstadt mentioned between “Blurred Lines” and “Got to Give It Up” could be at issue in that case. Some wonder why that suit is being fought in Pennsylvania, not in Los Angeles, like the Thicke suit is, or even Nashville. Examining these kinds of copyright elements is not something Pennsylvania is known for.